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EA Partners to close - report

Multiple sources indicate the imminent demise of EA's co-publishing arm [UPDATE: Respawn Entertainment confirms it's "business as usual"]

UPDATE: Respawn Entertainment has confirmed that development of its debut project continues apace, despite the rumoured closure of EA Partners.

Respawn's first project, which is being created by a number of former Infinity Ward staff, is an EA Partners project, but community manager Abbie Heppe tweeted that it was “business as usual” at the studio.

A post on Respawn's official twitter page read, "We're just fine over here. No need to worry about us. Always sad to hear about layoffs other places though."

ORIGINAL STORY: Multiple anonymous sources have indicated that EA's Partners label is due to shut down.

According to a report on Game Informer, the remaining projects due to be released on the Partners label - specifically, Insomniac's Fuse and Respawn Entertainment's debut project - will be unaffected by its closure.

Further details are unavailable at present, though EA's fiscal 2013 earnings call (May 7) is likely to contain more information on the decision. GamesIndustry International has contacted EA for comment.

EA Partners - known as EA Distribution until 2003 - was co-founded in 1997 by Tom Frisina, an industry veteran who had previously founded the development studios Accolade and Three-Sixty. The label was intended to be a suite of publishing services that would allow EA to work with the sort of smaller, independent developers normally averse to a standard publishing agreement.

Over the subsequent years, EA Partners helped to co-publish and distribute a consistently interesting - though not always commercially successful - portfolio of games.

It worked with Valve on The Orange Box, Portal 2 and the Left 4 Dead series, Crytek on the Crysis games, and Harmonix on the Rock Band franchise. However, it also helped to release Realtime Worlds' APB, Double Fine's Brutal Legend, People Can Fly's Bulletstorm, Grasshopper Manufacture's Shadows of the Damned and 38 Studios' Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning - idiosyncratic and ambitious projects that ultimately performed below expectations.

The move to close EA Partners arrives at what seems to be an inflection point for the company. John Riccitiello, CEO since 2007, stepped down last month, and EA has made a round of layoffs and announced the closure of its remaining games from Playfish - a company it acquired for $300 million in 2009 - since then.

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Latest comments (9)

Bradley Crooks Senior Producer, SCEE XDEV Studio Europe3 years ago
EAP set up in 1997, not 2009. Think you misquoted the article....
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Nicholas Lovell Founder, Gamesbrief3 years ago
EAP founded in 2009? Surely not.
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Andrew Watson Tools Programmer 3 years ago
It's happening
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Show all comments (9)
Nick Parker Consultant 3 years ago
Quite surprised at this; what we used to call 2nd party deals, EA redefined a structure to work with companies requiring distribution/marketing; some succeeded and a lot never met targets This is a further indication of EA maybe radically changing its business model.
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it looks like there is one radical direction for sure across the board. This streamline looks to consolidate all its resources into core biz development studios...
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David Serrano Freelancer 3 years ago
Why are they making these types of decisions while searching for a new CEO? It doesn't make much sense. But then EA's actions rarely make sense...

Edited 1 times. Last edit by David Serrano on 25th April 2013 7:05pm

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Tom and EAD was the first destination for Battlefield 1942 and the start of the franchise. Changed of course when DICE became acquired by EA.
But is it surprising? They haven't really done anything for the last years is my experience having pitched to them a bunch of times. I think the EAD really made sense from a organizational view back then when EA's distribution and sales machine so awesome and had capacity to push more games than the internal game production could provide them with. Since then a lot have changed in the industry and biz model wise as well and I would be very surprised if it means the end of external deals but rather it is a way of re-org it to fit the current state of the industry.
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And who knows how crowd sourcing has changed the way publishers do deals that EAP may not have been viable in the current uncertain market
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Paul Johnson Managing Director / Lead code monkey, Rubicon Development3 years ago
Unlike most of the other studios facing some hard times right now, I have to say I got no sympathy for anyone caught up in this. If they didn't know what they were getting into in the first place... "ooooh look, shiny"
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